Image Credit: Matt Kennedy/FoxI had to constantly remind myself that it was not inappropriate to laugh during last night’s How I Met Your Mother. (Please forgive the double negative for the sake of my point.) It seems like a rather silly reminder considering the show is a comedy, but I got so wrapped in the darkness of the episode — which was the first new one since they killed Marshall’s dad — it didn’t always feel proper to chuckle. I thought my mother’s hand was going to shoot out and slap my knee for laughing when I shouldn’t be. That didn’t happen, for the record. What did happen was one of my favorite comedies put its spin on what is sometimes the darkest event in people’s lives and made it work.

The episode was set primarily at the wake and memorial services for Marshall’s dad. (Yes, we were spared the actual funeral, and my bleeding heart will kiss the writer who made that decision.) We found the gang each doing their part to help Marshall deal with his great loss and overcome his insecurities about the seemingly meaningless final exchange he had with his father. Barney and Ted searched their phones for videos of men getting hit in the crotch in an effort to find material that would make Marshall smile. Robin, with the aid of her magical purse, was the Mary Poppins of vices. And Lily was “Marshall’s mom’s bitch.” They came together in the faces of a force much greater than their usual troubles, and it was overwhelmingly touching to watch. (Oh, and sometimes funny. Any mention of the third Crocodile Dundee movie is enough for a few chuckles.)

The last shot showed Barney calling his mom to tell her that he was ready to meet his father (who will be played by John Lithgow) — a big move for our favorite playboy. I’m glad the show is finding character-advancing plot in what otherwise would have been a meaninglessly sad event, and I’d argue with anyone who says Marshall’s healing and the various ripple effects on his friends won’t be a hilarious. If you’ve ever had to put your world back together after a similarly difficult life event, you know that humor becomes all the more important.

What do you think, PopWatchers? Is How I Met You Mother doing a good job handling the death of Marshall’s dad? Did you feel weird laughing during last night, too? And do you hope the show returns to its sunny self again soon?

On Twitter: @EWSandraG


Episode Recaps

''Um. Why is Jon Cryer in NPH's spot?" says commenter MKS. ''How can the Emmys ignore Barney's tear-jerking yet touchingly funny journey with his reunion…
How I Met Your Mother

Ted, Robin, Barney, Marshall, and Lilly remind us all of the joy of slap bets

  • TV Show
  • 7
  • Off Air
  • CBS
stream service